Fuerza Local Community Kitchen Welcomes Two New Food Entrepreneurs

Foodie alert! We are “bao”-ing down to two new food entrepreneurs from the Fuerza Local Community Kitchen who are bringing flavor to Arizona’s culinary scene: Bao Bar Phoenix and Yuka Salsa will be bringing lots of delicious flavor to Mesa Arts Center seasonal event, FLOURISH: The Art of Life on Earth on Friday, September 13, 2019 from 6:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.


Bao Bar Phoenix

Cole Warner and Isabelle Ibanez opened Bao Bar Phoenix in early August of this year out of the Fuerza Local Community Kitchen, a commercial kitchen to help launch food entrepreneurs in Metro Phoenix. After years in the culinary industry the pair decided to venture out making delicious hand-held savory treats, called Bao. Bao are traditional steamed Chinese bread roll filled with marinated meats and vegetables, almost like an elevated slider. 

“We started making bao at home over a year ago and really started to enjoy the process of making it together because of the creative freedom it gives us,” says Cole, “The Community Kitchen has allowed us to start with less burdens than most businesses who have to struggle when going into commissaries. Where less money is going into our time in the kitchen and more money towards what we're doing.”

A must-try menu item of Bao Bar Phoenix is their incredibly popular bao stuffed with soft shell crab and topped with sweet and sour mayo, cucumbers, and a thai chili dipping sauce, which will be on the menu at the event. 

A major bonus? Bao Bar sources from local Hayden Flour Mills.

Says Cole, “The Community Kitchen has supported us with opportunity and community and we couldn't be more proud to be a part. We are definitely excited to finally reach the Mesa community and meet more people!”

Yuka Salsa

Yuka Salsa has been in the making since owner Rosario Mendivil was just 15 years old preparing salsa in his uncle’s restaurant. Watching the faces of customers light up with delight after each bite of salsa inspired Rosario to create his own recipes and become an entrepreneur, “For me, it is always a great satisfaction to see the smile and those gestures on the faces of each person when they taste my salsa,” he says. 

On the menu are two signature salsa flavors: Roja y Verde. The red salsa starts with fresh tomatoes, chiles, and salt, and the green salsa swaps red tomatoes for tomatillos giving a traditional and authentic salsa flavor.

Needing to keep up with the demand, Rosario joined the Community Kitchen to increase production, and found a community to share his culinary passion with, too, “To me, the Fuerza Local Community Kitchen is the best kitchen that exists right now in the entire area! From the moment I entered and introduced myself to Chef Gabe, it was a great moment in my life and has made a big difference in how I could offer my product to more of the community.” 


FLOURISH: The Art of Life on Earth
When: Friday, September 13, 2019 from 6:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.
Where: Mesa Arts Center, 1 E Main St, Mesa, AZ 85201
Event Details: Family-friendly flora and fauna-themed exhibitions, performances, storytellers retail vendors, and food vendors of all kinds. Admission is free.

The Fuerza Local Community Kitchen is nestled on the street level of El Rancho del Sol Apartments, near downtown Mesa and run by Chef Gabe Gardner. The vision for the kitchen is to provide a fully equipped space for commercial kitchen use at low cost to help launch new local food entrepreneurs - a place where food truly meets community. 

The Kitchen is about building community through food. It is a place where residents, small businesses, and food education intersect to create a new model within our food system.
— Chef Gabe Gardner